You just had a scale measurement that made your trend weight go up after a recent downward trend. This happens in every single person’s weight loss journey, and on a regular basis. It is important to focus on the fact that you have been trending downwards recently. Don’t focus on this single trend weight bump up.
Believe it or not, these switches help you better understand your body, and help you learn the skill of weight loss. A huge part of repairing your feedback loop is understanding how your unique body works and reacts to various stimuli.
Instead of seeing this as a setback, see this as an opportunity to better understand your body. The better we understand how our body works, the better we understand what causes our weight to change. We can then control our position on the weight control spectrum and fix our feedback loop.
- If you have been working hard on losing weight and you didn’t do anything since your last measurement that should have made you gain weight, the trend weight will likely continue its downward trend soon. The scale lies, and it is important to remember that. If you have recently started an exercise routine, be aware that paradoxically, exercise can cause (good) weight gain.
- Alternatively, if there was an obvious reason for this shift, (eg: Thanksgiving dinner or a celebration with a lot of food), it is important to recognize that a big change in weight does not mean an entire month of your progress is completely lost. A lot of the weight is often just water retention from excessive carbohydrate intake or salt intake. If you quickly get back on track, you can quickly get back to your previous weight.
- If you weighed yourself today at a different time than yesterday or with different clothes on, simple things like these may be the cause for this shift. Weighing yourself at the same time, like in the morning after you go to the washroom can reduce scale weight variation (but not completely).
- The downwards trend of your recent weigh-ins matters much, much more than a single scale measurement that moves your trend weight up.
- Does this shift upwards frustrate you? How can you recognize that this happens in every single person’s weight loss journey? Can you prepare your mind for the next time this inevitably happens?
- Was there an obvious reason for this shift? Did you have a celebration that involved a lot of food, and you overate? As you get back on track, observe the time it takes to get back to your previous trend weight. Keep this in mind the next time you have a big event so you can prepare for it beforehand. Read this article about the joy to calorie ratio. It is important to appreciate the joy that eating food gives us from time to time!
- If there was no obvious reason for this shift, observe your next few measurements. Do you get right back on your downward trend or is it going up? If your trend weight starts trending up, dig deep with reflection to find the reason.
- One measurement is not a trend, but one measurement can start a trend. An upwards shift in trend weight can signal the start of weight gain. It can be easy to stop caring for a bit and then have old habits return.
- Jumps in weight no matter how small can be demotivating, but it is important to recognize that progress has been made. Aim not just to lose weight, but to learn how your body works. Learning how your body works and reacts to things is the key to fixing your feedback loop and losing weight for good.
This is a chart of my 100 pound weight loss journey. Looking back at these measurements, my trend weight went back up 275 times – over 1/4th of my measurements! Seeing my trend weight go up was never enjoyable, but the process of reflection helped me understand why. Understanding why helped me recognize when I was actually overeating and therefore helped me understand what I needed to do to lose weight. Without these 275 measurements, I would not have learned how to repair my feedback loop. They were actually a good thing!
Side note – my scale weight went up 453 times during this journey – almost half of my weigh-ins showed that I gained weight from the day before. The scale really lies!
Seeing the scale go back up during a weight loss journey is one of the biggest reasons people give up on their journey: they imagine that the effort they are putting in isn’t actually making a difference. Zooming out on the chart however and looking at the progress, it is undeniable that I made progress. The 762 times that my trend weight went down kept me motivated to keep going.